President Trump welcomed the Prime Minister of Israel and the Foreign Ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the White House on Tuesday as he presided over the signing over the historic agreements formalizing diplomatic relations between Israel and two Gulf Arab nations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed the agreements with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani during a ceremony at the White House. The agreements, dubbed the “Abraham Accords,” in honor of the three religions represent the first time an Arab country has normalized relations with Israel in more than 25 years. It includes the establishment of the first embassies in one another’s countries and the start of the first commercial flights between Israel and UAE. The last peace treaties with Israel were signed by Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
Trump said the agreements would serve as “the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region.”
“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark a dawn of a new Middle East,” Trump said at the ceremony in the South Lawn of the White House. “Thanks to the great courage of the leaders of these three countries, we take a major stride towards a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity.”
“These agreements prove that the nations of the region are breaking free of the failed approaches of the past,” Trump continued. “The people of the Middle East will no longer allow hatred of Israel to be fomented as an excuse for radicalism or extremism.”
Netanyahu called the agreements “a pivot of history” that “heralds a new dawn of peace.” He praised Trump for helping mediate the agreements and encouraged more Arab states to sign the accords.
“To all of Israel’s friends in the Middle East, those who are with us today and those who will join us tomorrow, I say, ‘As-salamu Alaykum.’ Peace unto thee. Shalom,” Netanyahu said. “And you have heard from the president that he is already lining up more and more countries. This is unimaginable a few years ago. But with resolve, determination, and a fresh look at the way peace is done, this is being achieved.”
In a meeting with Netanyahu in the Oval Office prior to the ceremony, Trump presented the Israeli prime minister with a golden ““a key to the White House, a key to our country.”
“This was a special token of affection, given by myself and the First Lady to the Prime Minister and the First Lady of Israel,” Trump said. “And it’s a key, we call it a key to the White House. And it’s a key to our country and to our hearts. And you’ve been an amazing leader for a long period of time. And this is in many respects, the big day, because this is something that’s very special.”
UAE Foreign Minister thanked Netanyahu for “choosing peace and halting the annexation of Palestinian territories.”
“I stand here today to extend a hand of peace and receive a hand of peace,” UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said.
Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani in his remarks stressed the need for a “two-state” solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The two historic deals between Israel and the UAE, and Israel and Bahrain lays the ground for diplomatic, economic, investment, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, and more.
As part of the deal with the UAE, Israel agreed to temporarily halt its annexation plan to annex parts of the West Bank, will instead “focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden praised the UAE-Israel peace agreement, attempting to take credit by framing the deal as the result of “efforts of multiple administrations to foster a broader Arab-Israeli opening, including the efforts of the Obama-Biden administration.”
On Friday, Trump announced that Bahrain has agreed to the “establishment of full diplomatic relations” with Israel and would suspend its plans to annex part of the West Bank.
The agreements have outraged Palestinians with reports that rockets were being fired from Gaza during the ceremony. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned the move, tweeting the deal from Bahrain and UAE is a “defeat for the Arab League institution” and a day that “will be added to the calendar of Palestinian pain and the record of Arab fractures.”